Cold wave grips country

LAHORE - Parts of the country received rainfall of varying intensities and snowfall over the hills on Sunday, increasing intensity of cold wave by causing considerable decrease in the mercury level.
Scattered rains and overcast conditions, however, provided much needed respite to the people in plains from the prevailing dense fog. Most parts of the country hardly saw any sunshine due to overcast conditions on the shortest day of the ongoing year. Most parts of the plains were in the grip of dense fog due to cold and dry weather that was disturbing routine life by reducing visibility.
After remaining covered by dense fog for so many days, parts of the country received rainfall of varying intensities in the evening on Saturday and on Sunday morning that caused dip in the mercury level. Plains of the country remained covered by thick clouds throughout the day on Sunday, causing considerable decrease in temperature during the day and at nighttime.
Harsh weather conditions forced the people to stay indoors on a weekly holiday wrapped in woolies and blankets to keep their bodies warm. Excessive usage of heaters led to low gas pressure in major cities including Lahore. In certain areas, women faced huge difficulties in cooking meals for their families.
Scattered rains added to the woes of motorists and pedestrians as rainwater inundated on portions of roads and roadsides. Inundated rainwater caused traffic jams in major cities including Lahore. Several incidents of skidding of motorcycles were also reported from various parts of Lahore.
The wet spell provided relief to the masses, especially kids and elderly people, from weather-related diseases caused by persistent dry cold.
Persistent dry and cold weather was causing people in huge numbers to approach public sector and private hospitals in the province. Hundreds of people, majority of them kids and elderly people, were approaching hospitals on daily basis for the treatment of weather related diseases. Kids and elderly people were at greater risk of getting diseases due to less immunity and lack of measures to face the dry cold. Majority of elderly people were hospitalized due to arthritis, joint pain, fever and asthma. Children were getting flu, cough and fever. The rains, however, are likely to decrease burden on public sector and private hospitals
Parachinar remained coldest place in the country where mercury dropped 11 degree Celsius below freezing point.
Maximum and minimum temperature in the City was recorded 14 C and 08 C respectively. Relative humidity in the morning was recorded 64 per cent which decreased to 82 per cenyt in the evening.  
According to the experts, a shallow trough of westerly wave is affecting northern parts of the country and likely to persist during next 24 hours.
Local meteorological department has forecast mainly cold and dry weather for most parts of the country during the next couple of days. However, partly cloudy weather with light rain (light snowfall over the hills) is expected in Malakand division ,Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.
On Sunday, Dir received 13 mm rain, Lahore 11 mm, Kotli 04 mm, Muzaffarabad 03 mm, Malamjaba 02 mm and Kalam and Sialkot 01 mm each. Murree received 03 inches and Kalam 0.5 inches of snowfall.
AGENCY ADDS: Lowari Tunnel was closed for all types of vehicular traffic on Sunday as Chitral received heavy snowfall on night falling between Saturday and Sunday. Pakistan Army was busy in relief work and to clear the closed link roads.
According to reports, the communication system for Chitral was adversely affected as most of the link roads including Lowari tunnel were closed for all types of transportation causing inconvenience to the commuters.
It should be mentioned that Lowari Tunnel is the only road linking Chitral with other parts of the country.
Scores of vehicles including passenger carriers with men, women and children on board were stuck up outside the tunnel in extremely chilly weather.
Engineers of Pakistan Army reached the area with heavy machinery and started efforts to reopen the Lowari Tunnel and other closed link road.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has predicted cold and dry weather in most parts of the country during the next 24 hours.
Mostly cloudy weather conditions with light rain (light snowfall over the hills) was expected in Malakand, Hazara divisions, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan during this period.

on epaper page 13
cold wave grips country
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